A Tailgate Party Chronology

October 17, 2005

This weekend, we had our first LSU tailgate party of the year that actually happened on a Saturday. We had absolutely perfect weather to sit outside and cook and bullshit for the entire day. I think we can all agree that God owed us some good football weather, and he didn't disappoint.

It turns out that I was out there 16 hours straight. How is this possible? Let me recall....


4:15: Out of bed. Yes, that's 4:15 AM.
5:00: Finished loading the Jeep with all of the tailgate stuff. Go to the convenience store for bags of ice and a big bottle of water.

The Baton Rouge paper isn't delivered to the house yet, so I resolve that I don't get to read the pre-game coverage this morning.

5:30: Arrive at our tailgate spot. There was a large tent pitched right next to our tents, so I was as quiet as I could be as I set up tables, poured ice over the beer in the ice chest, and fired up the generator.

I didn't really start the generator, but I was kind of noisy. At some point, a chick left the tent and went to finish sleeping in her car.

6:00: All done with the setup. I walked Lily around campus, as she's never gotten to explore before.

There were a lot of other people who were sleepily milling around. And then there were a couple of groups that were blaring music. One group had classic rock, and one group had country music. It was really bad country music too. No anthems -- just cryin' in your beer, she left me, slow, depressing music. It was not appropriate for a tailgate, and not appropriate for this early hour.

On the up side, I found a stand of free newspapers by the library!

6:30: We got back to my camp, but it's still too dark to read the paper. There's just a glimmer of light in one corner of the sky. So I move my chair out into the parking lot under a street light and read pre-game coverage, while Lily amused herself by chewing up a plastic cap to a Crown Royal bottle. No telling where she found that bottle cap, but she was having too much fun to take it away from her.

7:30: Clay and Craig arrive with the mother of all setups for television. The TV and satellite dish are mounted in a custom cabinet labeled and painted for LSU. The cabinet rides on a gold rolling cart, which is accessorized with plates of loyalty for LSU, ULM, and Dutchtown High School (hey, it's not my cart!).

Barely any setup was required before the setup was powered up, and we had live local TV as well as Dish Network channels.

Tyler and Shelly showed up shortly after that, and we moved from coffee to bloody marys a little while after that.

8:00 - 11:00: Time flew quickly during these morning hours. People continued to arrive, and we continued to drink. We watched Sports Center followed by ESPN College Football Gameday. At 11:00, the Alabama/Ole Miss game kicked off.

Somewhere in this stretch, I start cooking up a batch of beans and rice.

11:00 - 2:00The Bama/Ole Miss game was just the first of many, many good games this Saturday.

This was also the time that the party starts to fill up with friends of friends. I have a lot of these second-degree friends now. I only see them every so often, and it's gotten to where I know these people, but I can't recall their names or which first degree friend they belong to. Fortunately, I get by with a smile, handshake, and hand them a beer. That sort of welcome buys you a lot of good will.

2:00 - 2:30: Those attending the game started toward the stadium. The area quiets down a little, as generators shut down and other parties pack up. We're staying to watch the game from the tent.

Our kickoff coincides with a few other big games. Notre Dame/USC is the highest profile of those. Shelly demands text-message score updates on her way to Tiger Stadium.

2:30 - 6:00: This time was spent actually watching the LSU game. The Tigers win, despite giving up five turnovers, and being penalized for well over 100 yards (including plays called back because of penalty).

I don't know if that's encouraging or discouraging. On the one hand, you hate to see that many mistakes. On the other hand, if you can have those mistakes and still beat Florida, you have a really good team. Without the turnovers and penalties, we beat Florida by 30 or more. This could be a really, really good LSU team by the end of the season.

6:00 - 7:00: People return from the game. We start passing out beers and watch the beginning of the Florida State/Virginia game while waiting for traffic to clear out.

At this point, the people with the running TVs are responsible for scores to all of the other passers-by. I got quizzed on several other scores from the afternoon, including a couple of obscure ones. I generally know who won and who lost, but not exact scores, but that's pretty good, considering that I've been drinking for 11 hours.

By this point, it occurs that with Eddie missing, no one has answered the question, "where is {wife's name}?" with his stock answer, "the bitch better be home scrubbing the toilets!" A couple of people try the line, and it's still funny, but no one quite pulls off the level of obnoxious that comes naturally to Ed.

8:00 Start cleaning up the tailgate area.

9:00: Finally have the car started and get out of there. Traffic is slow, so it takes until...

9:30: Finally get home. 16 hours after having left for the morning. The sun made its entire pass over this half of the earth with me being in the same 10 square yard patch of ground, except for occasional bathroom hikes for both human and dog.

I have a couple more stories to share, but I'll save them until later in the week.